Sweet music

Noblesville High School senior Joe Wiegand is making a name for himself with two instruments

For the past 11 years of his life, Noblesville High School senior Joe Wiegand has played a musical instrument. Now 17, Wiegand’s dedication and talent is being showcased on not one but two instruments.

“Like a really good speech, literature or writing, it’s not only a story but the emotions behind it. Music really is emotional and a great way to convey that. I like to show the deep emotion these pieces have,” he said.

For the past two years Wiegand has represented Noblesville on the All-State Orchestra and All-State Band. Last year he was picked for the violin and oboe and this year he was selected for the oboe – the instrument he played last year.

“In my 22 years of teaching, I’ve never heard of anyone doing that,” said Eric Thornbury, Noblesville Schools’ music dept. chairman and directors of bands. “Watch for his name because he’ll be on some recording playing with some orchestra.”

Wiegand said he began playing the violin midway through first grade and added the oboe in sixth grade because he wanted to play in the middle school band.

“It’s always easier to learn a second instrument after learning a first. Generally when we have kids learn another instrument they are interested in ones that go together – have a similar system on fingering (like the trombone and trumpet),” Thornbury said. “It’s difficult to completely change genres and develop an ear at a young age. The process of learning an instrument is the same; however, they are still vastly different instruments. With the oboe, it’s hard to play in tune in the band but the violin is all done by ear. It probably helps him be a better musician.”

Wiegand said the two instruments help each other out.

“The musical aspect really applies to both,” Wiegand said. “I wouldn’t advise anyone to do that. I like the oboe and violin and I enjoy being able to play both but I’d be more proficient at one if I hadn’t diversified.”

Wiegand started playing with the NHS orchestra his freshman year and added band his junior and senior years. For the past two years Wiegand has participated in the Indiana Symphony Orchestra’s Side by Side program with other top teen musicians from the state.

“It’s a giant orchestra of students and professionals,” he said, adding he played third chair first violin beside two professionals.

“That’s a pretty big deal because the fourth chair was a person from Carmel,” David Hartman, orchestra teacher, said.

Thornbury described Wegand’s impact on the music programs like that of Michael Jordan or Peyton Manning.

“Their ability elevates everyone around them,” Thornbury said.He came in and elevated the music. The music is better because Joe is playing. He’s one of those musicians who makes everyone better. They feel his presence but don’t see the work he puts into it.”

Wiegand said his whole family plays an instrument or is musically talented. His mother, Christy, was a French horn player.

“She’s a brass player and wanted me to play a brass so I picked the violin,” Wiegand said. “The oboe is so beautiful and I wanted to be a part of the band. I wanted to be involved in some way.”

Wiegand practices on each instrument every day. He has an independent study and serves as a teacher’s assistant so he has 90-minutes blocked into every school day to rehearse.

“It’s pretty cool the school has that flexibility to allow him to do that,” Thornbury said.

While he is undecided on which college he will attend, Wiegand will major music performance. He’s not sure which instrument he will focus on and said that depends on the school and teacher. Wiegand also has interests in politics or prelaw while at school.

“I hope my undergraduate years help solidify what I want to do. I’m going to focus on one instrument and play the other,” he said. “You’ve invested too much into it to put it up and say ‘I’m done.’ It would feel weird not to play.”

Live music

Noblesville High School will host a free community concert at 7 p.m. May 9. The event includes the high school band, orchestra and choir. Or as Director of Bands Eric Thornbury said, “Joe and 649 of his closest friends.”

On May 3, the NHS orchestra and band will perform at the state preliminaries of the Indiana State School Music Association contest at Pike High School.

Meet Joe Wiegand

Age: 17

Birthplace: Southfield, Mich.

Residence: Noblesville

Hobbies: Read, strategy games and playing ping pong and volleyball

Song that interested him in the oboe: “Gabriel’s Oboe” from the movie “The Mission.”  “It’s a beautiful, gorgeous piece that got me really wanting to play the oboe,” he said.

First song to learn on the violin: “Pop Goes the Weasel” where he plucked the strings.

Future plans: Undecided on college, but plans to major in music performance – although he is unsure on which instrument.

Honors: New World Youth Orchestra member (seven years), Maurer youth competition, Interlochen Summer Music Camp

Personal quote: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” – Lord of the Rings

Robert Herrington

Managing editor of Current in Noblesville. A 1999 graduate of Noblesville High School, Herrington has been covering Noblesville and Hamilton County as a journalist since 2004. The military brat lived all over the east coast before calling Noblesville home since 1994. He and his wife, Maggie, live in the community with their baby daughter (and youngest Boston Red Sox fan), Caroline. From school board to common council meetings, First Friday events and summer concerts in the city parks, Herrington loves to attend and cover all that Noblesville has to offer.

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